Tanya Wills, Founder
Tanya Wills is a graduate of the midwifery program at Yale School of Nursing, where she received her Master of Science in Nursing and also earned her R.N. (Registered Nurse).
A former actress, Tanya was drawn to this work after the powerful birth of her son, Milo, in 2008. She completed her initial birth and postpartum doula training with Debra Pascali-Bonaro through DONA, International. She went on to complete her holistic doula training with Whapio Diane Bartlett through The Matrona deepening her capacity to nurture and connect with couples and their babies while reaffirming her belief in the human instinctual knowledge of how to birth.
Tanya obtained her Certified Lactation Counselor credential in 2010 through Healthy Children's Center for Breastfeeding enabling her to provide evidence-based lactation support and received additional training while at Yale with Julie Bouchet-Horwitz at Hudson Valley Breastfeeding as an IBCLC candidate. She trained as a midwife's assistant with Ina May Gaskin and other midwives at The Farm.
Tanya completed the Sacred Birth Mentor Program in 2014 with Stephanie Dawn as her mentor, earning her certification as a Sacred Birth Counselor. With a background in theatre, she brings warmth and a sense of humor to her classes and clients. Now a mother of two, Tanya balances her time working with pregnant folks and their partners with her own midwifery and lactation work, teaching, and learning from people who are in the process of giving birth. "I feel so privileged to be doing this important work."
Tanya practices as a home birth midwife and also provides annual gyn care, primary care, and lactation consultations through Manhattan Birth Midwifery.
Sarah Lovell, Instructor
Comprehensive Childbirth Prep, Infant/Toddler CPR
Sarah Lovell is an experienced doula who came to this work with a background in holistic health. Having managed natural health clinics since 2005, Sarah passionately believes in the body’s innate abilities and loves empowering others to have the same faith in themselves.
Beyond doula training, she has completed additional courses in breastfeeding support, Acupressure for Pregnancy, Labor & Postpartum as well as Childbirth Education. "Teaching the Comprehensive Childbirth Class has been one of the most rewarding additions to my birth work as I get to reach so many families with evidence based information (and a touch of humor) and watch them go on to have beautiful, empowering experiences."
A bit of a wandering spirit, Sarah is from Maine but has lived in Boston, Denmark and Vancouver, Canada before arriving in Inwood.
"Our society bombards us with such negative images of birth, it has been such a blessing for me to be able to tell someone, 'I know you can do this.' and see them do something they never thought they could."
Grace Veras Sealy, Instructor
Childbirth Weekend Intensive
Grace is an experienced birth, postpartum doula and lactation counselor. She has taught childbirth, newborn care and breastfeeding/chestfeeding classes at a large NYC hospital, and other childbirth education centers, as well as privately, to hundreds of students. Grace loves to share useful, clear, realistic, judgement- free information to help students and clients feel empowered in the process of having their babies and in making the decisions that inevitably arise while doing so, leading to better birth experiences.
Beyond teaching Grace is an active postpartum doula and does lactation home visits in Brooklyn, Manhattan and parts of Queens. She lives in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, with her husband and 2 daughters.
Yiska Obadia-Gedal, Instructor
Comprehensive Childbirth Prep, Comforting Touch for Babies
Yiska Obadia-Gedal is a NY State licensed acupuncturist, prenatal and therapeutic massage therapist and birth doula. As a massage therapist since 1995 and friend, she attended her first birth in 2001. Awed by the power and beauty of that experience, she attended a doula training program to learn more about the ways she could support mothers and families in the birth process.
Bringing together her various skill sets has been an integrative experience, enabling Yiska to serve her clients in a variety of ways, inside and outside of birth. Most recently she has been teaching other doulas and partners how to provide the kind of comforting touch she uses during birth to make birthing women feel most deeply supported and soothed.
Yiska has a home office and lives on the Upper West Side with her husband. She is an advocate for self-care and doing whatever it takes to have the support we need. The seeming paradox of birth is one of being simultaneously powerful and vulnerable. It is this special combination of both needing support and being infinitely strong and capable that Yiska finds especially inspiring about birth.
She feels honored to do this work and is so grateful to be a part of the Manhattan Birth community.
Erica St. Lawrence, Instructor
Childbirth Weekend Intensive, Newborn Care, CPR, New Parent Support Group
Erica St. Lawrence is an experienced birth and postpartum doula, a Certified Breastfeeding Counselor and a pediatric R.N. who has spent the last 10 years caring for hundreds of NYC families both in the hospital and at home.
Erica loves working with families at all stages, giving parents the knowledge, peace of mind and support to birth and nurture their babies with confidence. With her practical, non-judgmental, evidence-based and warm-hearted approach, Erica is passionate about helping you welcome your child into your life and easing your transition into parenthood.
Tanya's class isn't a typical childbirth class that you suffer through a few times to learn some breathing exercises and find out which hospital entrance to use when in labor. It is a community of diverse, yet like-minded, couples and Tanya is a charismatic, witty and passionate teacher who infuses humor, inspiration and storytelling into her lessons. She becomes personally invested in her students and their birth and postpartum goals and uses her extensive knowledge and her connections within the birth community to help couples find the best care providers to meet these goals.
Witnessing someone who is doing her true calling in life is a rare privilege, and we are grateful to have met Tanya, as well as the other students in her class (who we now call friends).
Her class is above and beyond what you'd expect from a childbirth class. We are so glad to have taken it and were genuinely sad when it was over. Thanks, Tanya. Without this class and the supportive community you've created, our birth and our experience as new parents would not have been the same."
-Susannah and Eric